Hearthlytics releases it's players and temporarily suspends all activities.
RJ here, speaking on behalf of Hearthlytics. I started this venture with Justin (JAB) over a year ago with the intention to test the waters of the Hearthstone esports scene. We also had the intention of making this a long term venture through grassroots or bootstrap growth. As you may have noticed we've become something of a recognizable team in the North American scene with a few accomplishments across all the players that were ever on Hearthlytics. Growing steadily over the last year gaining sponsors for the team gave us hope that we could really make this work long term. The investors, Jay and I, put up all our own money to pay the players, pay for travel, pay for dinners and company events. We put in a lot of effort, time, and money into this team. It is/was our baby. We don't see leaving Hearthstone as a failure - more as a prevention of that. We loved every second of what we were doing in the space and would welcome the opportunity to keep doing it but the time has come to shut down and focus efforts elsewhere.
I've always tried to maintain an open and good rapport with our players. Giving them every opportunity I can in the way of invites to tournaments, cash, stream/social media growth, and even contract negotiation advice. All of the players we signed have never signed onto a team before. I am not the type of person to take advantage of people - I'm sure many people in the scene can attest to that. I've taken care of the people that have worked for us and I've always operated in a completely honest, moral, and professional way. If you hear anything otherwise - it's poppycock. I welcomed feedback from the team about how they were compensated with open arms because truthfully all I wanted was to make each person feel like they were being taken care of to the best of my / our ability. That's what I wanted to be for them; an advocate, a leader, someone they could trust.
In the beginning we scouted and signed some of the most successful ladder and online players in the North American scene. Naturally, we assumed talent would bring in victories which would be followed by publicity and popularity. This worked, for a while. We soon hit our ceiling for sponsorships that we could actively work with and provide the results they need to sponsor us monetarily. We worked to increase salaries for the players by incentivizing work related tasks instead of just a monthly stipend (i.e. paying them for creating content, winning tournaments, and promoting the team/sponsors). Truthfully, this is where we went wrong. We created a scenario where professionals who were interested in being the best they can be at a craft were suddenly doing outside-game or uncompetitive related tasks too frequently for their liking. This caused many issues as you can imagine when sponsor related activities didn't get done and I had to answer for that. The unfortunate truth is we should have consulted the team on what they're open to doing prior to recruiting sponsors that want to actively work with us and our players. This lead us down a long path of us trying to get the players incentivized and it not working because all they really wanted to focus on was playing the game and being the best. The sustain and long term was just not there. Maybe we recruited wrong, maybe our model is wrong, but one thing we're confident about is that this being a single player game made it much harder on us than that of any team game. So naturally, we're moving out of the space.
That's about it for our story here at Hearthlytics. We wish all the best in the world to all of our players that were ever with us; JAB, Javasocute, itzBolt, Muzzy, Koroneko, PHONETAP, Kitkatz, Chandyland, Apxvoid, and fr0zen. Also thank you to each one of our staff over the last year and a half; Jayford, Kam, Thall, MMayer, bananafreak2u, afab, zangy, and boxception. Thank you to each and every one of you for making our time here in Hearthstone a success. Thank you all for reading and I sincerely hope you have maybe learned something from this as we have!
P.S. If you're one of those people who are curious how we're going to move into another game with the name "Hearthlytics" a simple rebrand is completely feasible, since we're not taking any existing fan base into a new game with us.
Hearthlytics pausing indefinitely all Hearthstone operations. Released all players. Didn't see long term potential at their current rate. Looking into other games. Rebrand possible.